A year to forget for rain

Rainman Jim checks his gauge. Photo Rob Maccoll.

Noosa’s rainman JIM KENNEDY looks back at last year’s big dry

There is one main reason why your garden and lawn doesn’t look nearly as impressive as it has over the last couple of years.

It’s got nothing to do with the amount of time you spent working in it. The explanation is simple, it comes down to the difference rainfall makes to a year. Whatever way we look at the 2023 rainfall, it’s a year to forget.

We finished 2023 with a meagre rainfall of 1089mm – only 70 per cent of our long-term average of 1557mm. And 2023 looks even worse when we compare it to the 2022 rainfall of 2566mm, with only 40 per cent received.

To put 2023 rainfall into perspective, there have only been 10 years since 1896 where the annual rainfall was less then 1100mm.

There are a couple of real anomalies in the 2023 figures. September, usually our driest month of the year, recorded our second highest monthly rain fail with 138mm. The second anomaly was December, with 175mm recording the highest rainfall for the year, while usually it is among the bottom six months in the yearly figures.

Amongst all this bad news there is some good news, particularly if you’re a sun lover. In 2022 we had 156 wet days and in 2023 we had only 113 – six more weeks of sunshine. And guess what? The two sunniest days of the week for the year turned out to be Saturday and Sunday. How good is that for those who work the traditional working week! We enjoyed 39 sunny Saturdays and 39 sunny Sundays.

When we look at the wettest days for the year, they turned out to be Monday and Tuesday. These two days contributed just on 50 per cent of our annual total.

What’s 2024 looking like? Already January is our wettest month since May 2022, and, as I write, that’s only after one week. Unfortunately for the garden, one wet week doesn’t make a wet year so we’re stuck with what the pundits are forecasting, below average rainfall for 2024. But I doubt it will be as dry as 2023.